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Christopher Columbus

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Length: 1607 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)
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Columbus, Christopher (Italian Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish Cristóbal Colón) (1451-1506), Italian-Spanish navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but achieved fame by making landfall, instead, in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. His father was a weaver, and it is believed that Christopher entered this trade as a young man. Information about the beginning of his seafaring career is uncertain, but the independent city-state of Genoa had a busy port, and he may have sailed as a commercial agent in his youth. In the mid-1470s he made his first trading voyage to the island of Khíos (or Chios), in the Aegean Sea. In 1476 he sailed with a convoy bound for England. Legend has it that the fleet was attacked by pirates off the coast of Portugal, where Columbus's ship was sunk, but he swam to shore and took refuge in Lisbon. Settling there, where his brother Bartholomew Columbus was working as a cartographer, he was married in 1479 to the daughter of the governor of the island of Porto Santo. Diego Columbus, the only child of this mar...


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...nand of all his privileges, even though by then Columbus was quite wealthy. He died on May 20, 1506, at Valladolid. His remains were later interred in Seville, then transferred to Santo Domingo, moved to Havana, Cuba, and finally returned to Seville in 1899. (Some historians think the bones removed from Santo Domingo were not his, so his remains may still be there.) Wherever Columbus rests, modern research has considerably diminished the heroic reputation he had gained by the 19th century, although his maritime skills continue to be celebrated.

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